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National Park Service Strategic Plan 

Final Draft 


NOV 1 1996 



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Eugene O'Neill NHS 

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Golden Gate NRA 
Presidio of San Francisco 
San Francisco Maritime NHP 
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Ecological & Historic Preserve 

International Historic Site 


Memorial Parkway 

National Battlefield 

National Battlefield Park 

National Battlefield Site 

National Historical Park 

National Historical Park & Ecological Preserve 

National Historical Reserve 

National Historical Park & Preserve 

National Historic Site 

National Histonc Trail 

National Lakeshore 

National Monument 

National Monument & Historic Shrine 

National Monument & Miitary Shrine 

National Memorial 

National Military Park 

National Monument & Preserve 

National Park 

National Park & Preserve 

National Preserve 

National River 

National Recreation Area 

National Reserve 

National Recreational River 

National River & Recreation Area 

National Seashore 

National Scenic Riverway 

National Scenic Trail 


Scenic & Recreational River 

Wild River 

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Boston NHP 
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American NHS 
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Frederick Law 

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John Fitzgerald 

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Dayton Aviation NHP 

• Hopewell Culture NHP 
• William Howard f*l 
■ Taft NHS 

Fort Scott 

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• Lincoln A 
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• Wilson's Creek NB 
George Washington Carver NM 

• Pea Ridge NMP 

• Buffalo NR 

'Trail of Tears NHT 

Fort Smith NHS 

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Eisenhower NHS ,,Gettvsbur 9 NMP 
Fort Necessity NB # Antietam NB 

Harpers* •Fort McHenry 
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Little River Chattahoochee \ • Ninety Six NHS 

Canyon NPre* .'River NRA 


Edgar Allen Poe 
Thaddeus Kosciuszko 

Castle Clinton NM 
Federal Hall NM 
Gateway NRA 
General Grant NM 
Hamilton Grange NM 
Saint Paul's Church NHS 
Statue of Liberty NM 
Theodore Roosevelt 
Birthplace NHS 

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Russell Cave NM 

Lookout NS 
•Moores Creek NB 

• Hot Springs NP f 

• Arkansas Post 

• Tupelo NB 
•Natchez Trace NST 


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•Charles Pinckney NHS 
Fort Sumter NM 

•tfort Frederica NM 
Cumberland Island NS 

tillo de San Marcos NM 
Fort Matanzas NM 


Arlington House, The Robert E. Lee 

Catoctin Mountain Park 
Chesapeake & Ohio Canal NHP 
Clara Barton NHS 
Constitution Gardens 
Ford's Theatre NHS 
Fort Washington Park 
Frederick Douglass NHS 
George Washington MemPkwy 
Great Falls 
Lincoln Mem 
Lyndon Baines Johnson Mem 

Grove on the Potomac 
Manassas NB 
Mary McLeod Bethune Council 

House NHS 
Monocacy NB 
National Mall 

Pennsylvania Avenue NHS 
Piscataway Park 
Potomac Heritage NST 
President's Park 
Prince Wlliam Forest Park 
Richmond NB 
Rock Creek Park 
Theodore Roosevelt Island 
Thomas Jefferson Mem 
Vietnam Veterans Mem 
Washington Monument 
White House 
Wolf Trap Farm Park 

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The Mission of the National Park Service 

"The National Park Service is dedicated to conserving unimpaired the 
natural and cultural resources and values of the National Park System for 
the enjoyment, education, and inspiration of this and future generations. 
The Service is also responsible for managing a great variety of national and 
international programs designed to help extend the benefits of natural and 
cultural resource conservation and outdoor recreation throughout this 
country and the world." 

— National Leadership Council 


In 1995 the National Park Service began actively working to comply with the 
Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA) to develop a 
performance management system that will be useful and used. This act 
requires both strategic planning and performance measurement — setting 
goals and reporting results. The law also sets various deadlines. Most 
important, the Government Performance and Results Act seeks to make the 
federal government more accountable to the American people in its actions 
and expenditures. The National Park Service, with its mandate to preserve 
the nation's parks and treasures, can and must demonstrate its value to the 
American people. 

In 1995 the National Park Service established a GPRA Taskforce to 
integrate the requirements of the Government Performance and Results Act 
into its management system. This taskforce oversees the implementation of 
this act into NPS management and has representation from field areas, 
programs, the Washington Office, and many parks. Over the years the 
National Park Service has been involved in long-range planning. The 
agency's most recent strategic plan was completed in 1994, not long after the 
GPRA legislation was passed. The GPRA Taskforce reviewed the 1994 NPS 
Strategic Plan and determined that it did not meet all the requirements of 
the Government Performance and Results Act. A new effort was begun in 
1995 and is presented in this Strategic Plan. 

This document reflects the requirements of the Government Performance 
and Results Act and seeks to define the agency's desired future. It provides 
the agency's framework for strategic planning and reporting on measurable 
outcomes, focusing on the results achieved rather than on the efforts 
expended. This plan, with the mission statement, mission goals, and 
long-term goals, forms the basis for parks, programs, and central offices to 
develop their annual performance plans and their annual goals and 
performance measures. 

The development and revision of this plan is an ongoing refinement process. 
By law a federal agency's strategic plan must be revised in its third and fifth 
years. For the National Park Service 1997 is a transition year to integrate 
GPRA requirements into its planning, budget, and reporting processes. It 

would be helpful to have comments on how well this plan, the mission goals, 
and the long-term goals assisted parks, programs, and central offices in 
developing their individual GPRA-based annual performance plans and 
annual performance reports. After having used this Strategic Plan as the 
foundation piece in individual GPRA planning efforts, the NPS GPRA 
Taskforce needs to hear specific suggestions for improving the plan. A 
revised plan, incorporating responses from parks, programs, and central 
offices will be the next step in the process. 

A Message from Director Roger Kennedy 

I speak as an American proud of his country — committed to its common 
purposes and its common heritage. I am especially proud of the role of the 
National Park Service in caring for our common heritage. The watchwords 
of the National Park Service are patriotism, integrity, truth, and 

Eighty years ago the nation was committed to a park system — a whole 
system with integrity. The founders of that system — Stephen Mather and 
Horace Albright — insisted that it be comprised of three inextricable 
components: the patriotic monuments on the National Mall in Washington, 
D.C.; great historic sites like Independence Hall and our battlefields; and 
our great natural areas. 

We in the National Park Service are educators, and the national park system 
is a great educational institution. We have 369 campuses. We try to bring the 
most accurate information to Americans in each of those places for a true 
understanding of our history, even when it is tragic. In some parks the chief 
truth is about our relationship to other species, including our responsibility 
for other species. In others we learn from archeology that there is scarcely a 
square mile on this continent that has not borne the brunt, or the blessings, 
of our willful human species. The places are real, the objects are real, the 
animals are real, and the stories are real. We are the custodians of what is 
most authentic in America. 

The national park system covers more than 83 million acres. About 21,000 
permanent and seasonal employees and about 80,000 volunteers carry out 
the peoples' business in caring for park resources and in providing for public 
access to the parks. More than 269 million visitors enjoyed these great 
American treasures in 1995 alone. Lodging, transportation, food, shops, and 
recreational services are provided by 659 concessioners throughout the 
national park system. The budget for operation of the national park system 
in 1996 was $1.1 billion. 

Our fundamental mission is focused not only on national parks but on a 
national system made up of resources managed by states, federal agencies, 
local governments, and the private sector. We work with our many partners 


in the public and private sectors to sustain and preserve this national system 
of natural and cultural resources and outdoor recreational opportunities. 
These resources, together with national parks, provide all citizens access to 
the richness and diversity of our national heritage. 

This Strategic Plan for the National Park Service complies with the 
requirements of the Government Performance and Results Act and is based 
on the 1994 NPS Strategic Plan. This document charts the course for the 
National Park Service in preserving parks and toward sustaining and 
renewing cooperation with communities and partnership programs. It is for 
our generation to provide the National Park Service with the tools to do that 
work better — to encourage, to endorse, and to improve the ability of the 
American community to protect its common heritage, its common ground. 

Roger G. Kennedy 


National Park Service Mission Goals 

The following mission goals are presented in four categories that are 
inclusive of NPS legislative mandates and policies. These mission goals were 
developed using concepts from the 1994 NPS Strategic Plan, contributions 
from members of the GPRA Taskforce, results of the NPS GPRA 
performance measurement workshop, and public comments received at 
meetings, by mail, and by questionnaire. The NPS mission goals enable the 
National Park Service to focus and align its activities, core processes, and 
resources to support mission-related outcomes and to help ensure that 
efforts and resources are targeted at the highest priorities. 

These mission goals articulate the ideals that the National Park Service is 
striving to attain, and they provide the basis for long-term goals. 


Mission Goal la: Natural and cultural resources are protected, restored, and 
maintained in good condition. 

This goal includes the concepts of biological and cultural diversity and the 
perpetuation of natural processes, and it is meant to encompass the broad 
mandate of the NPS organic act. Long-term goals pertaining to the 
protection, restoration, or maintenance of ecosystems, rare plant and animal 
populations, archeological and ethnographic sites, and historic structures 
and objects are related to this mission goal. 

Mission Goal lb: Natural and cultural resources are managed within a broad 

The term broad context includes both natural ecosystems and spheres of 
cultural influence that extend beyond the park unit to nearby lands. For park 
units that share resource management concerns with other countries, broad 
context means appropriate international cooperation. Long-term goals that 
seek cooperation with neighboring land managers and promote ecosystem 
management are related to this mission goal. 


Mission Goal Ic: Scenic grandeur and natural and cultural landscapes are 
protected from disturbance and encroachment of development and, where 
appropriate, their wilderness character and associated values are preserved. 

The enabling legislation for various parks requires the protection of the 
scenic grandeur of landscapes, the perpetuation of natural processes, and 
the mandates of the Wilderness Act regarding wilderness values in 
designated or proposed wilderness. To preserve scenic grandeur in a natural 
area, or the integrity of a cultural landscape, external incompatible 
influences must be minimized. Similarly, the National Park Service must 
maintain wilderness attributes, such as opportunities for solitude, presence 
of natural quiet, and a night-sky unaffected by light or air pollution in 
designated or proposed wilderness. Any long-term goals dealing with 
external threats to natural or cultural landscapes or the perpetuation of 
wilderness values are related to this mission goal. 

Mission Goal Id: The National Park Service contributes to knowledge about 
natural and cultural resources; management decisions about resources are 
based on adequate scholarly and scientific information. 

This goal pertains to NPS contributions of scholarly and scientific research 
to academic and park-associated communities. It maintains that park 
resource information increases society's understanding of its heritage and 
contributes to the general knowledge of the population. To meet this goal, 
park managers must routinely use the results of scholarly and scientific 
research and consultation with park-associated communities to determine 
how a proposed action or activity will affect park resources. Long-term goals 
that focus on physical research in the parks or archival research related to 
resources, along with performance measures that link research data to 
decision making, are supported by this mission goal. 



Mission Goal Ha: Visitors safely enjoy and are satisfied with the availability, 
accessibility, diversity, and quality of park facilities, services, and appropriate 
recreational opportunities. 

Safety and enjoyment are fundamental parts of the visitor experience. 
Visitor safety cannot be compromised. Likewise, enjoyment of the park and 
its resources is the desired outcome of any visit. Visitor safety and enjoyment 
are affected by the quality of park facilities and services, whether they are 
provided by the National Park Service, managed by a concessioner, or 
contracted. The availability of park facilities, services, and recreational 
opportunities has to do with convenient locations and times of operation 
that fit visitors' transportation and schedule needs. Accessibility for special 
populations visiting federal and concession-operated facilities or 
participating in authorized recreational activities will be accommodated, 
where appropriate, in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. 
Diversity and quality of facilities and services have to do with providing a 
range of appropriate accommodations and recreational opportunities (at 
various prices and levels of expertise and interest) for park visitors who are 
looking for variety in their park experiences. Appropriate recreational 
opportunities are those that are not harmful to resources and that are 
consistent with a park's purpose and management philosophy. 

Mission Goal lib: Park visitors and the general public learn and understand the 
purpose and significance of parks. 

Visitors' park experiences grow from enjoying the park and its resources to 
understanding why the park was established and what is significant about its 
resources. Any long-term goals that would accomplish the transition from 
simply enjoying the park to learning and understanding facts about its 
purpose and significance are related and included here. All forms of 
education and interpretation can be related to this mission goal. 


Mission Goal lie: The public supports the preservation of parks and their 
resources for this and future generations. 

Ultimately, the outcome of satisfactory visitor experiences is public support 
for preserving the country's heritage as contained in the parks. This support 
can come in various forms. Many people contribute time and expertise as 
volunteers in parks, others donate money and materials, and still others 
promote support for parks through cooperating nongovernment 
organizations. Any long-term goals that focus on building or maintaining 
public support for parks and their resources through interpretation, 
education, and visitor experiences relate to this mission goal. 


Heritage resources consist of both natural and cultural resources, including 
properties listed on the National Register of Historic Places, wild and scenic 
rivers, national trails, national landmarks, and heritage and recreation areas. 
These heritage resources are not within the boundaries of a national park or 
monument. They are supported by the National Park Service through 
partnership programs that are backed by legislation. 

Mission Goal Ilia: Heritage resources are conserved through formal 
partnership programs that increase support for their conservation. 

Partnerships among the federal government, states, local governments, 
Indian tribes, foreign governments, and private organizations and 
individuals will preserve significant historic and archeological resources 
throughout the nation. Partners include state historic preservation offices, 
state liaison offices, private nonprofit organizations, and foreign 


Mission Goal Illb: Through partnerships with state and local agencies and 
nonprofit organizations, a nationwide system of parks, open space, rivers, and 
trails provides recreation and conservation benefits for the American people. 

Some partnership programs assist state and local governments in developing 
recreational opportunities along designated rivers and trails. A goal of the 
National Park Service is to help meet current and projected recreation 
development needs within the capacity of the resource to sustain them. 
Assistance includes, among many things, visitor use studies and surveys, 
visitor experience planning, and visitor impact monitoring programs. 
Long-term goals dealing with assisting state or local governments to 
appropriately develop river and trail recreational opportunities are related 
to this mission goal. 

Mission Goal IHc: Assisted through federal funds and programs, recreation 
resources are protected through formal mechanisms to ensure continued access 
for public recreational use. 

Certain partnership programs such as grants from the Land and Water 
Conservation Fund and the Urban Park and Recreation Recovery Program 
and the transfer of federal lands to parks protect recreation resources 
through formal mechanisms established by law. Together, these three 
programs have provided millions of acres and invested billions of federal 
matching dollars in more than 37,000 state and local parks. Under these 
mandates, the National Park Service and its state or local grantees have 
contractual obligations to prevent unauthorized conversions from 
agreed-upon conservation and recreational uses. This mission goal relates to 
annual monitoring of sites assisted under these three programs. 



Mission Goal IVa: The National Park Service leads in sustainable practices for 
park operations and facility design. 

The National Park Service must use sustainable practices in the design, 
development, maintenance, and operations of park facilities and programs 
and must ensure that sustainable practices are used by concessioners and 
contractors. Long-term goals that focus on reducing waste, promoting 
recycling, producing life-of-structure maintenance estimates, minimizing 
impacts on air and water quality, and restoring disturbed areas are related to 
this mission goal. 

Mission Goal IVb: The National Park Service is a responsive, efficient, and 
accountable organization, with all systems integrated to enhance productivity. 

To become more responsive, efficient, and accountable, the National Park 
Service must integrate its planning, management, accounting, and reporting 
systems. Integrating these systems will provide better cross-communication 
during daily operations and will help the National Park Service develop 
required annual work plans in compliance with the Government 
Performance and Results Act. Modern electronic technology has made it 
possible to integrate these systems among the park units, central offices, and 
program centers. Long-term goals pertaining to organizational 
responsiveness, efficiency, and accountability are related to this mission goal. 

Mission Goal IVc: Employees are motivated and outcome-oriented, working 
together in efficient and effective ways. They are representative of the national 
workforce. All employees, including NPS leadership and management, are fully 
trained to ensure their professionalism and support for the NPS mission. 

The effectiveness of an organization depends on hard-working, motivated 
employees. Cultural and ethnic diversity in an organization helps it develop 
different outlooks and strategies in response to constantly changing 
influences on the work environment. All employees need training that gives 


them the ability to carry out their duties in full professional competence. The 
training must be focused on the NPS mission and be outcome-oriented. It 
must promote efficiency, effectiveness, safety awareness, and teamwork in 
the agency. Long-term goals that focus on managerial, administrative, safety, 
and organizational training are related to this mission goal. 

Mission Goal IVd: Partnerships, volunteers, grants, and donations, with or 
from other agencies and organizations, increase NPS managerial ability. 

The National Park Service seeks to pursue maximum public benefit through 
contracts, cooperative agreements, contributions, and other alternative 
approaches to support park operations. This concept includes 
nongovernment organizations such as friends groups, foundations, 
cooperating associations, and concessioners. It is not, however, limited in 
that respect. Local, state, and federal government organizations already 
assist in improving NPS managerial ability through partnerships and 
cooperative agreements. Long-term goals that deal with park management 
strategies and funding sources carried out in cooperation with other 
government and nongovernment organizations and private donors are 
related to this mission goal. 



National Park Service Long-Term Goals 

The long-term goals presented below are part of a series of servicewide goals 
that respond to the Government Performance and Results Act. These goals 
bridge mission goals to annual goals. Parallel goals are being developed at 
the park, program, and central office levels. Unlike the mission goals, which 
articulate the ideals that the National Park Service is striving to attain, these 
long-term goals help establish performance measures and help develop 
reporting methods. Annual goals that flow from long-term goals will be 
described in the National Park Service's annual performance plan. 

The development of NPS mission goals and long-term goals used a 
field-oriented approach that sought to have personnel from the field units 
contribute the bulk of the information and ideas. This approach ensured that 
the linkage of the goals is logical and hierarchical and that there is a clear 
picture of what the National Park Service must accomplish to meet its 
mandates. The long-term goals were developed under the assumption that 
funding will continue at the current levels. It is obvious that adequate 
staffing and funding must support these goals for them to be effective. 

The NPS long-term goals reflect the collective vision and desired outcomes 
of the National Park Service — parks, programs, field areas, the Washington 
program staff, as well as the National Leadership Council. Underlying the 
development of these goals is the critical assumption that during the next six 
years financial resources will remain essentially at current year levels in 
constant dollar terms. As the National Park Service strives to fulfill its 
mission and ensure that resource allocations and decisions reflect 
results-oriented performance, these long-term goals represent the subjects 
that the National Park Service intends to measure as appropriate for each 
park, to aggregate, and to report upward to the national level as 
documentation of its accomplishments. 



Mission Goal la: Natural and cultural resources are protected, restored, and 
maintained in good condition. 

1 . By 2002, 10% of disturbed lands in parks that have been targeted for restoration 
in resource plans prior to 1997 are restored (total number of acres of disturbed 
land for which an approved general management plan, resource management 
plan, or action plan calls for restoration efforts). 

2. By 2002, 25% of the park's listed threatened and endangered species 
populations have an improved status, and 50% of listed species have stable 

3. By 2002 the number of violations of national ambient air quality standards per 
park and the number of reductions in visibility per class I park is reduced by 10%. 

4. By 2002 the number of days recreational waters fail to meet water quality 
standards for recreation is reduced by 10%. 

5. By 2002, 50% of all historic structures on the List of Classified Structures are in 
good condition. 

6. By 2002, 40% of park museum collections are preserved, protected, and used 
consistent with professional standards. 

7. By 2002 the number of reported incidents of looting or vandalism of 
archeological sites is reduced by 10%. 

Mission Goal lb: Natural and cultural resources are managed within a broad 

1 . By 2002, 60% of all parks have formally identified the cultural groups relevant to 
park management and have developed programs and/or agreements with those 

2. By 2002, 50% of the inventory and monitoring parks have developed a 
GIS-based conceptual model of the park and its surrounding ecosystem. 

3. By 2002, 50% of all parks have documented the major external impacts on park 
resources and developed cooperative mechanisms for mitigating such impacts. 


4. By 2002, 100% of major NPS planning efforts, including international assistance, 
incorporate appropriate ecosystem management strategies into the development 
of alternatives and agency proposed actions. 

Mission Goal Ic: Scenic grandeur and natural and cultural landscapes are 
protected from disturbance and encroachment of development and, where 
appropriate, their wilderness character and associated values are preserved. 

1 . By 2002, 50% of all cultural landscapes on the Cultural Landscapes Inventory are 
in good condition. 

2. By 2002, 50% of park units that have designated wilderness within their 
boundaries are implementing approved wilderness management plans. 

Mission Goal Id: The National Park Service contributes to knowledge about 
natural and cultural resources; management decisions about resources are 
based on adequate scholarly and scientific information. 

1 . By 2002, 1 9% of the outstanding data sets identified in 1 997 of basic natural 
resource inventory needs for all parks are acquired or created. 

2. By 2002, 10% of each kind of cultural resource is inventoried and evaluated to 
current standards and national register criteria. 

3. By 2002, 50% of all NPS research is made available to the public. 


Mission Goal Ha: Visitors safely enjoy and are satisfied with the availability, 
accessibility, diversity, and quality of park facilities, services, and appropriate 
recreational opportunities. 

1 . By 2002, 85% of visitors are satisfied with the availability, accessibility, and 
quality of park facilities and services. 

2. By 2002 visitor and employee safety incidents are reduced by 10%. 


3. By 2002, 75% of facilities (including quarters) and services are in compliance with 
health and safety standards. 

Mission Goal lib: Park visitors and the general public learn and understand the 
purpose and significance of parks. 

1 . By 2002, 60% of park visitors understand the purpose and significance of the 
park they are visiting. 

2. By 2002, 50% of schoolchildren who attend park-sponsored interpretive and 
educational programs demonstrate knowledge of park resources. 

Mission Goal lie: The public supports the preservation of parks and their 
resources for this and future generations. 

As yet, no servicewide long-term goals have been articulated for this mission 
goal. Parks, programs, and central offices may develop their own long-term goals 
and annual goals to meet this mission goal in their performance plans. 


Mission Goal Ilia: Heritage resources are conserved through formal 
partnership programs that increase support for their conservation. 

1 . By 2002 the number of significant historic and archeological properties identified, 
evaluated, documented, or officially designated at local, state, tribal, or national 
levels is increased by 25%. 

2. By 2002 the number of significant historic and archeological properties protected 
nationwide through local, state, or tribal statutory, regulatory, or financial 
incentives or by the private sector is increased by 27%. 

3. By 2002 a projected increase of 1 30% in requests for information and assistance 
on the appropriate protection of significant historic and archeological properties 
is met. 


Mission Goal Hlb: Through partnerships with state and local agencies and 
nonprofit organizations, a nationwide system of parks, open space, rivers, and 
trails provides recreation and conservation benefits for the American people. 

1 . By 2002, 1 ,100 additional miles of trails, 1 ,200 additional miles of protected river 
corridors, and 35,000 additional acres of parks and open space are established 
with NPS partnership assistance. 

2. By 2002, 250 additional American communities, assisted through NPS 
partnership efforts, enjoy recreation and conservation benefits on lands and 

3. By 2002, the National Park Service works with 500 grassroots conservation 
organizations on various partnership projects. 

Mission Goal IIIc: Assisted through federal funds and programs, the protection 
of recreation resources is achieved through formal mechanisms to ensure 
continued access for public recreational use. 

1 . By 2002, 37,500 state and local parks assisted through federal grants and land 
transfers are protected and remain available for public recreation. 


Mission Goal IVa: The National Park Service leads in sustainable practices for 
park operations and facility design. 

1 . By 2002, 100% of new NPS facility design and construction projects employ 
sustainable practices. 

2. By 2002, 85% of park operations use sustainable practices (e.g., energy and 
water conservation techniques). 


Mission Goal IVb: The National Park Service is a responsive, efficient, and 
accountable organization, with all systems integrated to enhance productivity. 

1 . By 2002, 1 00% of major NPS data systems are integrated so that 75% of 
employees are able to readily access needed information, and 80% of the 
information added to servicewide databases is entered only once. 

2. By 2002, zero material weaknesses are identified in the National Park Service. 

Mission Goal IVc: Employees are motivated and outcome-oriented, working 
together in efficient and effective ways. They are representative of the national 
workforce. All employees, including NPS leadership and management, are fully 
trained to ensure their professionalism and support for the NPS mission. 

1 . By 2002, 100% of employee performance appraisals are tied to outcomes in the 
strategic and annual performance plans. 

2. By 2002, 80% of NPS employees have professional certification by PATCO 

3. By 2002 the percentage of protected classes employed and retained by the 
National Park Service matches the percentages of national workforce measures 
in each PATCO category. 

Mission Goal FVd: Partnerships, volunteers, grants, and donations, with or 
from other agencies and organizations, increases the NPS managerial ability. 

1 . By 2002, 95% of national park units have integrated partnerships into their 

2. By 2002 the National Park Service annually receives over 3 million hours of 
volunteer support, valued at $40 million in donated services, to support its 

3. By 2002 the National Park Service annually receives $40 million in 
nonappropriated funds to support its mission. 



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The Challenges 

The National Park Service faces several challenges associated with resource 
preservation, visitation, operations, and budget. The National Park Service 
must address these challenges if it is to achieve its mission and goals. The 
following essays provide a background for understanding some of the 
complex problems that the National Park Service faces and how its mission 
and goals are interrelated. 


The Role of the National Park Service in 
Preserving America's Legacy of Natural and 
Cultural Resources 

When the first forest reserves and national parks were being established in 
the 1800s, few Americans were concerned about what was going to happen 
to the nation's spectacular natural resources in the wake of progress. To 
meet the ever-growing needs of the population, forests were logged, 
mountains were mined, and rivers were dammed. In areas that were once 
wild, the presence of people displaced or reduced animal populations and 
eliminated some species altogether, and greatly altered vegetation. 

Automobiles and other types of transportation and services make it easy and 
desirable for people to visit national parks and other scenic areas. Easy 
access has created a complicated issue: how to adequately protect and 
preserve park and heritage resources while providing a safe and enjoyable 
experience for visitors. 

The limited, and often overburdened, NPS workforce provides many 
emergency and nonemergency services, including search and rescue, law 
enforcement, interpretation, education, and public relations. As a result, less 
time is devoted to resource protection. Also, the national park system has 
been expanding, but budget increases and the number of employees have 
not grown proportionately. Easy access, combined with a limited ranger 
force, has resulted in an increase in resource crimes, including poaching and 
pot-hunting, which often go undetected until after the fact. 

Public support for governmental natural area protection, cultural 
preservation, and outdoor recreation programs cannot be taken for granted. 
The National Park Service must, as its highest priority, strive to further 
protect and preserve our nation's natural and cultural heritage resources. 
This effort should not come solely from the concerns of citizens or groups 
within the Park Service. Public support of all environmental and cultural 
laws must be reflected in budget and staffing allocations. Parks, and what 
they represent, are not guaranteed future protection. 


Demographics: What Does the Changing 
Face of America Mean for Parks in the 21st 

Several demographic facts face the National Park Service as it enters the 
21st century: the aging pattern of the population, both the baby boomers and 
their offspring; immigration and an increasing proportion of ethnic 
populations; and geographic relocation of people in the United States. 

Park visitation will be affected significantly by the aging of the baby boomer 
population, and during the next 15-25 years the percentage of senior citizens 
in this country will sharply increase. This will be a long-term trend, and as 
the boomer population approaches 65, their children will be producing the 
highest number of births ever achieved in the United States. With increased 
life-expectancies, many baby boomers will still be alive when their own 
children reach retirement age. 

Profound demographic changes are taking place in the United States in 
terms of immigration and ethnic populations. With its current growth rate, 
the population in the United States will double in about 75 years. Half of the 
nation's growth will come from recent immigrants and their children. Trends 
indicate that minorities, including American Indians, African-Americans, 
Hispanics, Asians, and Pacific Islanders, will collectively exceed the Anglo 
population sometime during the next century. This is an important issue 
because parks have historically been used mainly by the white middle class 
segment of the population, and many parks lack the ability to attract and 
offer park experiences that are meaningful to visitors from varied ethnic 
backgrounds, or have not yet made their park values relevant to them. 

A lot of park visitation is regional in nature, particularly at urban parks, and 
where people choose to live or relocate will affect visitation trends. An 
overall trend is that large numbers of white middle class and upper-middle 
class people are moving out of major metropolitan areas, especially in 
California and along the East Coast. Another trend is for major urban 
metropolitan areas along the eastern seaboard, California, and south Florida 


to experience an increase in minority populations. Parks that provide 
recreational opportunities and are near major urban centers will continue to 
receive high levels of visitation by people who cannot afford to travel to 
farther destinations. During the first half of the 1990s, attendance at 
national historical parks and memorials has increased because many of these 
areas are in or near urban areas. Multiday vacation trips to parks are on the 
decline, and weekend trips are on the rise. 

As park visitation in the future reflects these demographic trends, the 
National Park Service must be prepared to meet the needs of increasing 
numbers of ethnic and elderly populations. The National Park Service 
should take trends into consideration when deciding on visitor services and 
amenities. More facilities in or near parks will be needed to keep pace with 
increasing visitation, particularly in urban areas. Elderly visitors, many with 
mobility impairments, will require more vehicle campsites, RV hookups, and 
easier access to park activities and features. Communicating park values to 
ethnic groups will require new skills, including multilingual programs and 
activities beyond park boundaries. External programs, as a means to 
communicate NPS values and resource importance, will become more 
important than ever before. 


Outdoor Recreational Trends: What is 
Coming Down the Pike for Post Baby Boomer 
Use of Parks 

At the same time that the National Park Service is managing park units to 
accommodate aging baby boomers, it faces an equally important challenge: 
providing recreational activities for the children of baby boomers (those 
born between 1964 and 1981). 

Children of baby boomers have been commonly referred to as generation X. 
There is a general stereotypic perception that they are more likely to watch 
Music Television (MTV) than engage in outdoor recreational activities. 
Actually, research indicates that this group participates in outdoor 
recreation to about the same extent that their parents (the baby boomers) 
did when they were the same age. However, the activities differ greatly. As 
young adults, baby boomers went backpacking, cross-country skiing, and 
hunting, while present-day young adults mountain bike, rock climb, and 
kayak. Since there are fewer individuals in generation X compared to baby 
boomers, generation X has not produced the demand for outdoor recreation 
that the baby boomers did; however, generation X appears to be continuing 
the trend that was started by the baby boomers — more frequent short trips 
and fewer long vacations. This places an increased premium on close-to- 
home recreation. 

Children born after 1981 are often referred to as the millennial generation. 
This group is made up of the children who are still in their formative years. 
Statistics on the leisure behavior of this group are just starting to become 
available. Initial indications are that young children are participating in 
outdoor activities at a 10%-20% lower rate than did the baby boomers and 
generation X when those individuals were of a comparable age. A declining 
proportion of Americans interested in the outdoors is a cause of concern for 
the National Park Service because it could affect future political support for 
park and recreation programs. Of greater concern is the fact that the 
millennial generation contains high proportions of ethnic and/or 
socioeconomically disadvantaged children. Most of these children live in 
inner cities, and most national parks are far away from their homes. Also, 
few educational programs teach them about the values of parks and the 
value of history. 


Instead of concentrating efforts on providing new recreational opportunities 
for generation X, a more productive focus for the National Park Service 
might be to focus attention on attracting the millennial generation to the 
nation's parks. If these children are to enjoy outdoor recreational activities, 
they must be reached at home with appropriate messages and programs 
through educational activities. Moreover, the quantity and quality of 
outdoor recreational opportunities in and near America's cities must be 
greatly improved in the near future. 


The Changing Role of Federal Agencies: 
Politics, Partnerships beyond Boundaries, and 
the Federal Budget — Looking Forward to 
the Year 2003 

Budget pressures and increased public expectations about government 
continue to reshape the culture and operations of the National Park Service 
and other federal agencies. By necessity, innovations and efficiencies are 
being sought and adopted, even those that require some investment to 
implement. Partnerships are becoming a necessity for parks. While most of 
the money required to operate the parks will continue to come from 
appropriations, partnership groups who generate funds to meet park needs 
are becoming more important. 

Local governments and community groups, acting as partners, are 
increasingly involved in cooperative planning efforts with the National Park 
Service. These partners want the parks to be protected to the highest 
standards, and they may be the best defense against those who would exploit 
parks for personal gain. 

Reservations have become common in popular parks to avoid overcrowding, 
resource damage, and overload on the infrastructure. Public opinion surveys 
indicate that this limitation will be accepted by the public if the reasoning is 
adequately explained. The need to make reservations is likely to increase the 
value that people place on parks. Reservations, however, could exacerbate 
local tensions by limiting visitation and thereby slowing nearby economic 
growth. The National Park Service must learn how to create effective 
partnerships, building on shared values and identifying common goals. 

As more and more natural areas are developed, parks will become 
increasingly rare and valuable. Conserving our national heritage will become 
even more important, and the parks will be an even more valued component 
of American life. While this support gives the National Park Service more 
influence on the national scene, it comes at the price of greater scrutiny. 
Principled, defensible decisions that put resource protection first are 
essential to winning public confidence and support and to increasing the 
Park Service's ability to better deflect political pressures. 


NPS Internal Issues: Organizational Change 
and the Reinvention of the National Park 

Many internal and external social and economic concerns are influencing the 
National Park Service, requiring it to change its organizational structure, to 
streamline its processes, and in effect to reinvent itself. Change in and 
around the National Park Service is taking many forms and contexts. 

With the political goal of eliminating the federal budget deficit in the next 
seven years, the National Park Service is being reduced to levels of funding 
inadequate for essential operations and maintenance. During the next 
several years the National Park Service will have to cut back on programs 
and activities, including some that are symbolic of the national park 
experience (such as campfire programs), if they are to be funded from 
federal sources. Only the most urgent long-term, big-ticket resource 
preservation initiatives and the maintenance of critical infrastructure will 
take place during this period, and these functions will invariably relate to the 
most sacred and nationally spotlighted resources. Most parks will continue 
to conduct limited resource management and resource preservation 
programs, which will have to be squeezed out of very tight operations and 
maintenance budgets. 

The National Park Service and other agencies not dealing directly with job 
creation and economic growth will face a continuing series of difficult 
decisions. In many cases these management decisions will defer help for one 
park or program in favor of another. Without the means to provide services 
and protect resources, some NPS functions may be curtailed. 

The National Park Service must complete the reinvention that it has begun. 
The Park Service has seen progress in the delegation of authority, but it has 
not yet achieved balance between institutional direction and guidance on the 
one hand, and the localization of implementation authorities and flexibilities 
on the other. As a result, gaps and gray areas of indecision and inconsistency 
remain in carrying out policy, a situation frustrating to both parks and 
central offices. Because the National Park Service is in the midst of 
reorganization, it has become vulnerable to assaults on the parks themselves 
— particularly when the inconsistent application of policies from park to 
park opens basic NPS policies to attack. 


The redistribution of power is intended to create a new and improved basis 
for informed institutional decision making, with park superintendents 
empowered to better manage the National Park Service/public interface with 
their constituents. Clear policy, properly administered, is the manager's best 
support during troubled times. The exercise of program authority must be a 
joint venture between the Washington Office, the field areas, and individual 
parks so that policy concerns, strategies, and tactics are aligned. Managers 
cannot afford to experiment with the basic legal and policy authorities that 
guide the National Park Service. When the reorganization is completed, the 
flexibility at the park level that makes regulation and policy more compatible 
with local conditions and constituencies will be in place. And in those parks 
where difficulties remain, law and policy administered from the Washington 
Office and the field area offices will provide superintendents with the 
objective support needed to ensure the integrity of park resources and values. 

Also, the National Park Service must continue streamlining work processes: 
it must emphasize the need to share resources among units and to recognize 
and reward sharing, and it must obtain more flexibility in establishing 
partnerships and cooperative agreements with outside organizations. The 
National Park Service must ensure a diverse and demographically balanced 
workforce. It also must look at creative ways to retrain staff affected by the 
reorganization so that their technical skills are adequately used. 

The challenge that faces the National Park Service is not small: it must build 
an operational base that combines the delegations and interactive 
organization envisioned by the restructuring plan, it must develop the ability 
to live within severely curtailed budgets, it must learn to improve and 
streamline its work processes, and it must seek to involve its partners in 
carrying out its mission. Anything less will risk all that has been invested and 
all the potential good that is yet to come from this organization. 


The National Park Service and American 
Communities: Partners in Conservation and 

The National Park Service is best known to the public through its individual 
units — 369 places where visitors can hike majestic mountain trails, explore 
Civil War battlefields, or appreciate the inventions of an Edison. However, 
the work of the National Park Service extends far beyond park boundaries. 
Starting in the mid-1960s, the National Park Service received broadened 
authority to extend its helping hand to communities, regardless of their 
proximity to park units. The clear mission: whether inside or outside of 
parks, cultural and natural resources are all part of the nation's heritage. 

NPS historic preservation partnerships are administered in collaboration 
with the states, other federal agencies, American Indian tribes, nonprofit 
organizations, and commercial enterprises. They provide financial and 
technical assistance to governments and the private sector to help protect 
community character and revitalize community economies. Just one 
program, NPS preservation tax credits, has leveraged more than $17 billion 
in private investment in more than 26,000 historic building projects since 
1977. The tax credit program and others like the National Register of 
Historic Places, National Historic Landmarks Program, Historic 
Preservation Fund grants, Tribal Historic Preservation Program, Archeology 
and Ethnography Program, and the Historic American Buildings 
Survey/Historic American Engineering Record help the National Park 
Service bolster community preservation efforts nationwide. 

A new NPS partnership with other governmental agencies and the private 
sector to enhance the quality of life in urban and rural areas is the 
Empowerment Zone and Enterprise Community Initiative. The NPS role in 
this initiative will see that cultural and natural resource assets are integrated 
into economic development activities and infrastructure constructed in 
harmony with nature's demands. Moreover, the National Park Service 
supports Job Corps, Americorps, and similar state and local programs that 
benefit both people and environments in need of help. 


Other NPS partnership programs help communities conserve precious 
resources and enhance outdoor recreational opportunities. Matching grants 
are made through state governments to local communities for the 
acquisition, development, and rehabilitation of recreation and conservation 
sites. The National Park Service plays a critical leadership role in several 
partnership efforts that cross federal agency lines. These efforts benefit 
American communities and community enhancement groups. In the pursuit 
of livability, revitalization, and sustainability for America's communities, the 
potential for NPS partnering is virtually unlimited. 


Research in the Parks: Effective Management 
Needs a Knowledge Base Derived from 

One of the distinguishing features of park resources is that they are genuine 
— created naturally or intentionally by humans for purposes other than 
becoming parks. As the resources preserved in the nation's parks become 
more unusual or scarce through the passage of time, cultural changes, or loss 
of natural systems elsewhere, their research value and significance will 
increase and become more evident to society. 

Much NPS research attention is focused on the preservation of our tangible 
resources. Less attention is focused on the knowledge that can be derived 
from those same resources. Management-focused research is directed at 
solving a particular resource problem, while knowledge-focused research is 
directed at understanding more about the resource. Both kinds of research 
are needed. 

Currently, not enough is known about the condition of most resources. 
Resource base inventories to collect scientific data about park resources 
have not been conducted uniformly throughout the system. If the National 
Park Service is to increase its knowledge of park resources, understand how 
its resources relate beyond park boundaries, and know how to allocate 
diminishing preservation dollars, it must incorporate sound research 
practices into park management. The ultimate success of the National Park 
Service in protecting and preserving the nation's parks will depend on the 
availability of credible scientific and scholarly information on which to make 
informed management decisions. 

The 1994 NPS Strategic Plan articulated a desired future condition that 

NPS staff includes highly professional and nationally recognized scientists 
and scholars who maintain extensive professional partnerships with their 
counterparts in other scientific, academic, and cultural institutions. These 
mutually beneficial relationships ensure that quality research forms the 
basis for NPS preservation, planning, and educational programs and that 
this knowledge is broadly shared with the public. 


The perspective of the National Park Service in this regard has not changed. 
The National Park Service must learn about the resources to fulfill its 
preservation mission, and it must learn from them to know and interpret 
who we are as American people. The responsibility for preserving park 
resources is immense. Mediocrity in research programs and preservation 
efforts is, quite simply, unacceptable. 


Conducting Park Business 

While Responding to Rapid Changes 

and Flat Budgets 

There is a crisis facing the National Park Service. Its ability to effectively 
carry out its dual mission of resource preservation and visitor use is being 
affected. It has become apparent that the necessary human and fiscal 
resources are no longer available to meet the optimum standards for most 
NPS programs. 

Internal and external influences are increasingly affecting park resources. 
Downsizing and reorganization have substantially reduced central office 
support to parks. Delegations of authority have put more responsibility at 
the park level, further impinging on limited human and fiscal resources. 

The National Park Service has survived difficult times in the past and must 
rely on that experience to get through these lean times and improve over the 
long term. For example, at the end of World War II the National Park 
Service was limited to a small custodial staff; resource management was 
neglected, some resource exploitation had been permitted for the war effort, 
the budget was small, and the public was discovering the parks by 
automobile. The National Park Service chose to stick to the fundamentals of 
its mission. Work was limited to only necessary tasks, with no apology and 
little remorse for the things left undone. The credo was a single paragraph 
from the 1916 NPS organic act: 

to conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and the wild life 
therein and to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such manner and 
by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future 

What park resources and the visiting public received during that time was a 
mission-focused, dedicated park staff who accomplished the most essential 
tasks well. Old-timers today maintain that this was a time when all NPS 
employees felt essential and integral to the operation and maintenance of 
the public's national parks. In this lean time the National Park Service must 
look to its mandate and mission goals for a clear focus on the fundamental, 
essential tasks at hand. The National Park Service can no longer do more 
with less. 


The NPS Role in American Education: 
Real Perspectives from Real Places 

As early as 1906, Congress in the Antiquities Act recognized the 
government's role of using public lands to increase public knowledge. The 
National Park Service's first director, Stephen T. Mather, believed that "one 
of the chief functions of national parks and monuments is to serve 
educational purposes." 

The Historic Sites Act of 1935 explicitly directed the National Park Service 
to "develop an educational program and service." The national park system 
has been called the nation's greatest university without walls. While the 
National Park Service has long recognized its educational role, education is 
now receiving increased prominence. The National Park Service has an 
obligation to the American people to share its natural laboratories and 
historic objects — to use its parks as classrooms. Helping people understand 
the complexity of the land and its history will support the fundamental 
mission of the National Park Service and increase support for the 
preservation of the mission. 

The opportunities and methods for increasing education using the resources 
of the national park system are truly bountiful. These authentic resources — 
the ancient masonry walls at Hovenweep, the Kemp's Ridley sea turtles at 
Padre Island, the loons at Voyageurs, the moose heads at Theodore 
Roosevelt's Sagamore Hill, the goat herd at Carl Sandburg, the Russian 
Bishop's home at Sitka, the Grand Canyon, and the Statue of Liberty — help 
us understand the diverse aspects of this nation's natural and cultural 
resources. Such education is resource-based within the appropriate 
ecosystem or cultural context. While education is site-specific to the 
resources, it must also relate to systemwide themes. Habitat management 
must be taught within the larger context of an ecosystem, battles must be 
taught and understood within the larger societal context of wars and 
conflicts. Improving the National Park Service's educational success requires 
a changed attitude, one that is mindful of the educational importance of 
parks and their resources to our citizens and their everyday lives. A changed 
attitude also means increased outreach and interaction with educational 
institutions at all levels, broadening the intellectual enrichment of all. Such 
greater interaction, already begun, must include strong relationships with 


academia at individual parks as well as servicewide. Textbook publishers and 
educators who develop classroom curricula (Parks as Classrooms) can also 
use these authentic resources to teach about our rich national heritage. 
Using current and emerging technology (satellite up-links, the Internet, 
CD-ROM) can bring knowledge and appreciation of NPS resources to 
millions of Americans, whether they visit parks or only learn about parks 
through the media. Working with video and broadcasting to improve the 
quality of programs about parks will.also extend the national preservation 
and environmental ethic. 

In addition, the National Park Service must reach out to communities across 
the nation as a partner in education. Using the lessons learned in our parks, 
the National Park Service must engage with others who wish to share with 
the public the knowledge and excitement of these natural and cultural 
places. Parks are not isolated islands, they are a small part of the larger 
ecosystem and only a part of American history. NPS educational efforts 
must reflect this interconnection by participating in the regional efforts of 
other educators. 

For many years the National Park Service emphasized visitor interpretation 
rather than education, with information and entertainment sometimes being 
considered more important than learning. In actuality, interpretation both 
overlaps and complements more formal and intensive education. Having an 
integrated, professional, quality educational program sponsored by the 
National Park Service that is accessible and exciting to its participants and 
that functions at the different levels of knowledge and interests that 
participants and visitors bring will always be a challenge. The resources 
themselves, the knowledge about them, and the ability to communicate with 
the public through appropriate techniques are all critical elements in any 
NPS educational approach. In reality, NPS employees are teachers — 
teachers in special places where tangible resources help visitors understand 
the intangible ideas that the resources represent. 


The NPS Role in International Assistance 
to Other Park Systems 

The National Park Service receives many requests for specialized 
international technical assistance from park and conservation agencies and 
organizations who are interested in top-quality training, partnership 
continuity and loyalty, and successful cooperative results. The National Park 
Service's most successful international products have been park planning 
assistance; program evaluation assistance; exchange of technical 
information; international training programs, including interpretive skills 
training; and conferences, workshops, and symposiums. 

Although the National Park Service has maintained a modest base of 
appropriated funding for international activities, supplemented by 
substantial external funding, current levels of NPS funding for international 
activities are being cut, affecting the National Park Service's ability to fund 
international programs. 

The number of international visitors continues to rise in America's national 
parks. This increase is creating new management issues such as linguistic and 
cultural barriers. Contractors to the U.S. Information Agency and the U.S. 
Agency for International Development frequently contact the NPS Office of 
International Affairs to request that it receive and make schedules for 
foreign delegations; provide, or arrange for, briefings about operations, 
management, and a variety of other technical and substantive issues; and 
assist visitors in one or more parks. Parks are also independently requested 
by these contractors to accommodate international visitors. Although 
considerable staff time and resources are devoted to assisting the contractors 
with their foreign delegations, the National Park Service does not receive 
compensation from these agencies or their contractors. 

In a cultural sense, borders do not really separate countries or act as 
barriers. The sharing of cultural and natural resources can unite populations 
that are separated by borders. The hope of the National Park Service for 
international assistance is to do as well as it has or better in the face of 
declining funding, while always recognizing that there is much to be learned 
from the professionals working in the park systems that request its help. 
International assistance should be a two-way exchange of knowledge, 
experience, technology, and training with resource protection and 
preservation as the common goal. 


Operational Process 

The operational process envisioned by the National Park Service to achieve 
the mission goals can be described as two parallel constructs. One construct 
is at the servicewide level and provides the overall NPS pathway for 
reporting on the degree of achieving performance measures. The second 
construct is at the park/program/central office level, which allows reporting 
up through the unit for information that is to be aggregated servicewide. 

The servicewide direction contained in the mission goals and long-term goals 
serves two purposes. First, by keeping the mission goals in both of these 
constructs, the mission orientation from the long-term to the annual is 
maintained. Second, a proposal at the annual level must contribute to 
satisfying long-term and mission goals. If a proposed action does not 
contribute the achievement of a long-term or mission goal, then it would not 
be appropriate to the unit or the National Park Service. 


Government Performance & Results Act 
Operational Process Within The 
National Park Service 




Central Office 

NPS Mission Statement 

Unit Mission Statement 

NPS Mission Goals 

Unit Mission Goals 

NPS Long-term Goals 

Unit Long-term Goals 

NPS Annual Goals 

Unit Annual Goals 

NPS Annual 
Performance Plan 

Unit Annual 
Performance Plan 

NPS Annual 
Performance Report 


Unit Annual 
Performance Report 


Program Assessment and Evaluation 

The following is an overview of the process that the National Park Service is 
using to assess the current situation in the 369 park units in the system and 
the partnership programs in which the National Park Service cooperates. 
The process assists in developing mission statements, mission goals, 
long-term goals, annual goals, and annual work plans for the organization as 
a whole, as well as the individual parks and formal partnership programs. 
The NPS mission was defined in the 1916 organic act and subsequent 
legislation, but most of the parks were created through particular legislation 
and executive orders and have specific missions of their own (purpose and 

This Strategic Plan for the National Park Service is the culmination of 
consultation with customers and stakeholders throughout the country. This 
plan reflects the results of the 1994 NPS Strategic Plan and the 1991 National 
Parks for the 21st Century: The Vail Agenda. It also shares many similarities 
with the National Park Service's 1963 Long Range Plan. 

The following eight-step process was developed to provide an initial 
assessment and evaluation of performance management needs for the parks 
and programs. The process uses a "why, what, and how" model. 


Step 1: National Park Service Mission and Goals 

Review the servicewide mission goals from this Strategic Plan as a starting 
point for developing park and program goals consistent with the servicewide 

Step 2: Park / Program Mission 

Establish the purpose and significance of the specific park or partnership 
program to determine its particular mission. Purpose refers to the specific 


reasons the park or national assistance program was established; significance 
describes a park or partnership area's distinctive resources or values, why 
they are important within a national or international context, and why they 
contribute to the purpose of the park or program. 


Step 3: Mission Goals 

Develop park or program mission goals. Mission goals represent the ideal 
condition that the organization wants to attain or maintain and must reflect 
the servicewide goals reviewed in step 1; elaborate on the particular purpose 
and significance of the park or program as determined in step 2. These goals 
must focus on results, not efforts — on conditions, not strategies. They must 
be expressed in terms of desired future conditions ("What would success 
look like?"). The distinguishing characteristic of a particular success may be 
developed into a useful performance measure. 

Step 4: Long-Term Goals 

Determine long-term, outcome-related performance goals and associated 
performance measures. Long-term performance goals represent the 
outcomes to be achieved over the foreseeable future, roughly 5 years, with a 
range of 3 to 20 years depending on the particular long-term goal. As 
essential components to the mission goals, performance goals and measures 
must focus on results, not efforts, and must be expressed in terms of desired 
future conditions. These goals are to be expressed in measurable 
(quantifiable) terms, with firm performance targets (level of 
accomplishment) and dates to be completed. 

Once realistic long-term performance goals have been identified, the 
appropriate performance measures need to be chosen. The following must 
be considered when determining the best performance measure for a 
performance goal: (1) Do any legal requirements, policies, regulations, or 


broadly accepted standards apply? (2) What are the needs and wants of 
customers, stakeholders, and partners? (3) What guidance is provided by the 
best available scientific or academic research? 

Step 5: Assess the Status Quo 

Parks and partnership programs need to know the current status of 
resources to guide future actions. What is the current availability of funding 
and staffing? What is the condition of the park/program resources to be 
preserved and the visitor services available now? This analysis will provide a 
context for determining what reasonably can be done and will help schedule 
outputs (the products and services) needed to achieve the goals. 


Step 6: Annual Goals and Plan 

Develop an annual plan that identifies the annual performance goals 
(outcomes) for that year, the outputs (products and services) needed for 
success, and the inputs (staffing and funding) required to achieve them. The 
annual plan links outcome-related performance goals to specific outputs and 
inputs for a single year. This step identifies how much of a long-term goal 
can reasonably be expected to be accomplished in one year. Annual 
performance goals must clearly show their relationship to the long-term 
goals. Annual work plans then specify the actions to be taken so that the 
NPS products and services (outputs) will further the annual goal. 

Step 7: Do the Work 

Allocate resources and perform the work. Parks and programs receive 
budget allocations and update performance goals to reflect funding and 
staffing, and performance plans are implemented over the course of the year. 



Step 8: Monitor and Evaluate Performance 

Monitor and evaluate performance and provide feedback and reports. 
Performance is to be monitored using the NPS performance measures. 
Results are to be evaluated by comparing them with goals. Subsequent 
annual goals and long-term goals will be adjusted as necessary. Did the 
year's results meet the annual performance goals? Were the goals 
reasonable? Were the measures appropriate? Did the activities produce the 
desired products and services? The results are to be recorded using 
measures that best indicate performance at the local level, as well as those 
measures that inform the public about the National Park Service. 


Performance Measures 

The 369 units of the national park system have more than 20 separate 
classifications that demonstrate the system's diversity, including national 
park, historical park, monument, battlefield, river, recreation area, seashore, 
and parkway. In addition, the National Park Service is responsible for many 
valuable partnership programs of support, assistance, and cooperation 
separate from the units of the national park system. 

A set of common performance measures has been identified to establish a 
basis for all parks and partnership programs to report their results. 
Measuring outcomes (annual results) poses various challenges for the 
National Park Service, which has a variety of natural and cultural resources 
and recreational opportunities and only partial control over the results. The 
National Park Service is more familiar with measuring inputs (funding and 
staffing) and outputs (products and services such as the number of visitor 
programs or the miles of road plowed). Outcomes help the National Park 
Service show the value it creates for the American people. 

Performance measures that directly relate to the health of natural and 
cultural resources and that are useful, cost-effective, and currently available 
have been difficult to develop. The management of natural and cultural 
resources has often been limited to managing change by controlling impacts. 
The underlying assumption of managing for change is that by controlling 
impacts on the resources, they are preserved for future generations. 
Although much work has been accomplished in understanding impacts and 
their control, research methodology that can definitively evaluate the actual 
condition of natural and cultural resources is inadequate. Indirect indicators 
of resource health have been used to determine resource condition. 

In addition to the mandate requiring that resources be preserved and 
protected, the National Park Service also has the responsibility of managing 
those resources so that people can enjoy them. The National Park Service 
has surveyed park visitors and studied park use trends for many years to 
provide facilities and services that meet visitor needs and preferences. 
Program evaluation will require additional visitor surveys to evaluate visitor 
satisfaction with NPS services and facilities. 


; ->v ****** 

National Park Service Consultations in 
Developing this Strategic Plan 

Consultations with key committees of Congress were conducted in August 
1995 and June 1996. 

Public meetings to solicit comments on the Strategic Plan were held in San 
Francisco, Denver, and Washington, D.C., in October 1995. 

Ten thousand public questionnaires were distributed to stakeholders and 
employees in November 1995. The 20% return rate provided valuable input 
for producing this document. Analysis of the questionnaires was compiled in 
the booklet What Americans Think. 



This document was prepared with the contributions of many NPS 
employees, members of the GPRA Taskforce, and members of the NPS 
National Leadership Council. 


Office of Strategic Planning 

Heather Huyck, Director 

Larry Norris, Program Analyst and Production Manager for the 

Strategic Plan 
Michael Brown, Program Analyst 
Eileen K. Peterson, Program Analyst 

Denver Service Center 

Jon Nickolas, Editor 

Linda Ray, Senior Visual Information Specialist 

Joan Huff, Visual Information Technician 


Carol Aten, formerly National Park Service 
Rowland Bowers, Washington Office 
Roger Brown, Washington Office 
Sharon Cleary, Washington Office 
John Cook, Intermountain Field Area 
Deke Cripe, Washington Office 
John Crowley, Intermountain Field Area 
Gary Davis, Channel Islands National Park 
Jim Donoghue, Intermountain Field Area 
Bryan Harry, Pacific Island Support Office 
Ken Hornback, Washington Office 


Glen Kaye, Southwest Support Office 

Marc Koenings, Assateague Island National Seashore 

Toni Lee, Washington Office 

Howard Levitt, Golden Gate National Recreation Area 

Bob Martin, Redwood National Park 

Howard Ness, Mexico Affairs Office 

Patty Neubacher, Pacific West Field Area 

Dave Parsons, formerly National Park Service 

Dwight Pitcaithley, Washington Office 

Kendra Peel, Washington Office 

Jerry Pendleton, Washington Office 

Tom Ross, Washington Office 

Dick Sellars, Southwest Support Office 

Gail Slemmer, Washington Office 

Cathy Spude, Denver Service Center 

Michael Tollefson, Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks 

George Turnbull, Pacific-Great Basin Support Office 

Merle Van Home, Washington Office 

Ed Zahniser, Harpers Ferry Center 


Paul Anderson, Alaska Field Area 
Rowland Bowers, Washington Office 
Mary Bradford, Washington Office 
Warren Brown, Washington Office 
Maria Burks, Cape Cod National Seashore 
Deke Cripe, Washington Office 
John Cook, Intermountain Field Area 
Jim Donoghue, Intermountain Field Area 
John Duran, National Capital Field Area 
Loran Fraser, Washington Office 
Denis Galvin, Washington Office 
Jim Giammo, Washington Office 


David Given, Midwest Field Area 

Heather Huyck, Washington Office 

Bob Newkirk, Southeast Field Area 

Dick Ring, Everglades National Park 

Frank Seng, Washington Office 

Michael Tollefson, Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks 

Rory Westburg, Columbia Cascades Support Office 

Alex Young, Intermountain Field Area 


>".. h » 


ST 8/3 

National Park Service strategic 
I 29.2=ST 8/3 


3 ELDfl D^Tl D71D 

As the nation's principal conservation agency, the Department of the Interior has responsibility for most 
of our nationally owned public lands and natural resources. This includes fostering sound use of our land 
and water resources; protecting our fish, wildlife, and biological diversity; preserving the environmental 
and cultural values of our national parks and historical places; and providing for the enjoyment of life 
through outdoor recreation. The department assesses our energy and mineral resources and works to 
ensure that their development is in the best interests of all our people by encouraging stewardship and 
citizen participation in their care. The department also has a major responsibility for American Indian 
reservation communities and for people who live in island territories under U.S. administration. 

Publication services were provided by the graphics staff, Resource Planning Group, Denver Service 
Center. NPS D-l 151 / September 1996 

Qjj7 Printed on recycled paper